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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07USNATO486
2007-09-06 15:11:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Mission USNATO
Cable title:  

UNODC CHIEF COSTA BRIEFS THE NAC ON AFGHANISTAN

Tags:   PREL  SNAR  MARR  ECON  PGOV  UN  AF  NATO 
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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061511Z SEP 07
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1158
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHNA/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0004
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0455
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USNATO 000486 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2017
TAGS: PREL SNAR MARR ECON PGOV UN AF NATO
SUBJECT: UNODC CHIEF COSTA BRIEFS THE NAC ON AFGHANISTAN
POPPY


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES RICHARD G. OLSON FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AN
D (D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USNATO 000486

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2017
TAGS: PREL SNAR MARR ECON PGOV UN AF NATO
SUBJECT: UNODC CHIEF COSTA BRIEFS THE NAC ON AFGHANISTAN
POPPY


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES RICHARD G. OLSON FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AN
D (D).


1. (C) SUMMARY. Antonio Costa, Head of the UN Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC), briefed NATO on September 5 on
UNODC's 2007 report on Afghanistan poppy production. In
addition to NATO PermReps, 24 other interested nations and
organizations were on hand as Costa reviewed the key findings
and recommendations from the UNODC report. Afghan poppy
production was 17% greater than last year, accounting for 93%
of the world's opium. While Afghanistan's southern provinces
saw large increases in cultivation, thirteen other provinces
were poppy-free. U.S. Ambassador Nuland stated the U.S.
welcomes ISAF supporting Government of Afghanistan (GoA)-led
counternarcotics efforts, within means and capabilities and
commented on successes from U.S. efforts in RC-East in
marrying counterinsurgency and counternarcotics planning.
The Russians referred to proposals they made at the SCO
Summit, while the Afghan Ambassador appeared intent on
deflecting criticism of his government. The North Atlantic
Council (NAC) will further discuss ISAF's counternarcotics
role in the coming weeks. The meeting was a successful use
of the NAC's "26 plus N" forum adopted at last year's Riga
Summit. END SUMMARY.

--------------
UNODC REPORT - KEY FINDINGS
--------------

2. (U) Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime, briefed NATO on September 5 on
UNODC's recently-released report on Afghanistan opium
production. Costa reviewed the key findings of the UNODC
report, noting that in 2007 Afghanistan had a record 193,000
hectares under poppy cultivation, accounting for 82% of the
world's cultivation and (due to its high productivity) 93% of
opium production. Beneath the 17% increase in poppy

cultivation lies the fact that thirteen provinces are now
poppy-free, while several others, mostly in the south, saw
huge increases in production. Costa urged vigilance to
ensure that provinces free of poppy cultivation do not
graduate to higher value-added activities such as opium
processing or transportation. He noted that opium prices are
still more than double the 1990s prices, despite the huge
increase in supply. In a survey of Afghan farmers, the
number one reason given (by 38%) NOT to grow poppy was that
it is against Islam, which Costa noted, suggests public
diplomacy efforts conducted in concert with village and
religious leaders may be effective. He also reviewed the
role of Afghanistan's neighbors as export routes for opium
and import routes for precursor chemicals.


3. (U) Costa offered several recommendations, including:
- rewarding farmers and governors for not growing poppy.
Costa praised the Good Performer's Initiative and singled out
U.S. support to the GPI while asking other nations to
contribute;
- greater and more effective eradication. "2007 eradication
was a farce", he said, more is needed to raise the risk to
farmers and create a deterrence for next year;
- a local approach to create more poppy-free provinces;
- NATO doing more to take on labs, open drug markets, the
precursor chemical trade, and traffickers;
- not turning a blind-eye, i.e., GoA not tolerating corrupt
officials nor international forces tolerating traffickers for
the intel they provide;
- listing traffickers and seizing their assets under UNSCR
1735;
- addressing areas (e.g., in Helmand) where the Taliban have
established permanent control, and improving cross-border
cooperation;
- reducing demand for opium. Costa also noted that --of
8,800 metric tons of opium produced worldwide in 2007--
4,000 tons satisfy demand and nearly 2,000 tons were
confiscated, leaving nearly 3,000 tons unaccounted for and
presumably stockpiled.

--------------
NATIONAL INTERVENTIONS
--------------

4. (C) In addition to NATO PermReps and Afghan Ambassador
Tandar, other organizations (World Bank, EU Commission, EU
Council) and nations (NATO partners such as Russia and the
Central Asian states, ISAF contributors) attended the
briefing. After Costa's presentation, interventions included:

- U.S. Ambassador Nuland noted the link between drugs and

USNATO 00000486 002 OF 002


insecurity, saying the U.S. welcomes the call for ISAF to
support GoA-led counternarcotics efforts, within means and
capabilities. She commented that ten of the thirteen
poppy-free provinces are in RC-East, where U.S.
counterinsurgency planning incorporates counternarcotics
dimensions. For example, the PRTs in RC-East include GoA
counternarcotics officials so that missions are planned with
a CN perspective. There are also joint intel cells, joint PD
efforts, and U.S. support for GoA-led missions. RC-East has
also benefited from an emphasis on the Good Performer's
Initiative.

- Russia. Ambassador Totskiy noted the situation is
deteriorating, saying that Putin offered a plan at the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in August for
a drug-free buffer zone around Afghanistan. Russian focus is
on northern border interdiction, imports of pre-cursor
chemicals, setting up a Central Asian coordination center,
and creating a "financial buffer zone" to address money
laundering. In October, a Russian counternarcotics official
will take up his duties in Afghanistan. Russia favors a
coordinating role for the UN on narcotics. The Russian
statement was supported by Kazakhstan, whichalso mentioned
initiatives from the SCO.

- World Bank. Mr. William Byrd opined there may be natural
fluctuations behind some of the higher poppy numbers. Byrd
countered a point made UNODC's Costa by saying that
"dependence on opium by farmers is associated with poverty".
He stated the World Bank does not support "blanket
eradication", which can be used by corrupt officials to
disproportionately hurt the poor and ultimately undermines
the credibility of the central government. The Bank supports
"national programs" rather than "fragmented projects" and
sees a need to develop alternative agricultural exports and
to fire corrupt GoA officials.

- Afghanistan. Speaking extemporaneously, Amb. Tandar noted,
inter alia, that the GoA was getting "blamed" but there was
little discussion of successes in Afghanistan; nor was there
discussion of the money laundering of drug proceeds in
European countries. Countering UNODC Costa's comment that
the 2007 eradication campaign was "a farce", Amb. Tandar
noted that 500 Afghan police were killed and poverty
increased in eradicated areas. Regarding UNSCR 1735, he
challenged the group to put forward the names of drug
traffickers in order to get them on the list. Regarding
efforts to sideline Afghan warlords, Tandar noted that the
governor of Balkh province (a former warlord) has
successfully eradicated poppy and can serve as a model for
others.

- France. Ambassador Duque supported Amb. Nuland saying ISAF
should support the Afghan security forces within the ISAF
OPLAN, noting "we can assist but not replace Afghan
authorities."

- Netherlands. Ambassador Schaper supported an "integrated
approach" and opposed "indiscriminate eradication" that would
unfairly impact poor farmers.

- UK. Deputy PermRep Kidd supported U.S. comments on ISAF
doing all it can within its mandate. He noted the importance
of Allies filling the demand for trainers embedded in Afghan
National Army units and PD efforts. In Helmand, for example,
Afghan forces supported by ISAF embedded trainers (an
Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team) seized 800 kg of
opium.


5. (C) COMMENT. Costa's briefing and unvarnished
recommendations were well received at NATO. The session (in
"NAC 26 plus N" format) was a milestone for fulfilling the
goals of last year's Riga Summit to strengthen NATO's global
partnerships. In addition to the 26 NATO Allies, 24 other
nations and organizations were represented around the table.
At the regular NAC meeting immediately afterwards, Allies
agreed to further discussion in the coming weeks on how ISAF
can strengthen its counternarcotics role within the current
ISAF OPLAN -- this discussion will be sometime after the
Sept. 12 NAC, at which SACEUR and COMISAF will brief. END
COMMENT.
OLSON